This year, we have maintained the Gardens of Light, but also diverted funds into providing attractions on the streets of the town centre, such as our glowing festive stilt-walkers, who can be seen in various areas of the town during late night shopping and on weekends, our Giant Snow Globe and Santa Express.
Giant Snow Globe
We have had an overwhelmingly positive response to the Snow Globe, with the message going out loud and clear to the public that it was provided by the town centre businesses, and that if people wished to show their appreciation, they should go and treat themselves to something in one of the local businesses. It generated a huge amount of goodwill, with people being given a free photo to take away, and was deliberately moved every few days into different areas of the town, encouraging people to explore more of the town than they might usually.
Have you spotted the Santa Express in town yet? Up to now, it has been operating Thursday to Sunday only, but as of the 15th December, it will begin running every day until 30 December (with the exception of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day & Boxing Day). It stops at the Lower Gardens, Westover Road, Old Christchurch Road, The Square and The Triangle, and the aim is very much to encourage people to move more freely around different areas of the town on their visit. We are subsidising the cost to the public so it only costs them £1 per person, with under 2s going free!
Gardens of Light
This year we brought back a selection of the most popular Light Pods, with some brand new light installations, a new trail of snowflake projections, and a new and improved ice rink from THAT Group & Hilton. We have had some issues this year for the first time ever, including rogue squirrels chewing through cables, and the odd incident of vandalism, which have affected the Light Pods and the new installations, but these have been resolved quickly.
We would love to hear your thoughts on the Christmas activity this year, and will be sending out a survey after Christmas.